Friday, December 21, 2012

Step One Complete

After weeks of agonizing over TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) courses, my enrollment is now official.  The documents with my signature, statement of purpose, and course application information are submitted.  I am really doing this - really prepping myself for this adventure.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Title of This Blog

So before this blog sets sail on its actual journey towards South Korea, I thought it would be best to explain why I ended up with the title "The Ugly (Iron-Clad) Turtle".  Basically, there were three main reasons:

1) This blog is about a journey I am embarking on: code name Adventure South Korea (ASK)!  Because it is about a journey I needed something suitably journey-ish for my title so I looked for all sorts of references to various winding paths, roads less traveled, single steps, becoming something, being a stranger, writing and/or reading a new page, etc.  Finally I settled on a 'voyage', but I wanted it to be Korea-related.  Lo and behold!  Korea apparently had the world's first iron-clad ships known as turtle ships, or Geobukseon.  While the iron-clad claim is controversial (given contemporary Korean sources), the story goes that these warships were resurrected by Admiral Yi Sun-sin from pre-existing designs to combat invading Japanese forces during the Joseon Dynasty.  Given that Admiral Yi is famous for his naval victories, I would say they did their job effectively.  Long story short: voyage implies water implies boat + Korea = Iron-Clad Turtle.

(Wikimedia Commons; User: Feth Fran├žais)
2) Most people have heard of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Ugly Duckling" - that's where the 'ugly' in the title comes from.  The basic premise of The Ugly Duckling is that an ugly little bird eventually matures into a beautiful swan to the surprise of those around him.  It's a story all about positive personal transformation.  I think that's exactly what kind of experience I will gain in South Korea, so as I write this blog I want to keep my thoughts focused on how I can use this opportunity to better myself as a teacher, a learner, a world citizen, and a person.

(Deviant Art; User: SquidPig)

3) All the other blog names I wanted were taken.  I probably tried at least fifteen.